By Brecht Decaluwé
After a great performance during the National Championships last Saturday in Providence it was clear American Jonathan Page was on the way up again. A few weeks before the championships Cyclingnews talked with Jonathan Page. Back then, the best American cyclo-cross rider of the past few years was in deep trouble: he got injured while reaching his best form ever, he was almost broke and he had no team for 2007. "I’ve got just Cervelo and Adidas as individual cash sponsors for 2007-2008 but that’s not enough to live from without start money, " Page said, "I’m quickly losing hope that anything is going to come of them [new sponsors]."
It was clear that Page was on the brink of making it in Europe before his injury. "At the end of last season and the beginning few races of this season before I was injured, I felt like I was finally making it. Finally I, an American, was in the mix in the big races, competing for podium spots. I think it would be good for the sport to have other countries taking on the powerhouse countries of 'cross," Page told Cyclingnews.
After months of rehabilitation following shoulder surgery, Page decided to start at the National Championships to get into the picture. With around three weeks of training and a bad starting position (fourth row) he managed to grab second place behind American’s new king of cyclo-cross Ryan Trebon (Kona). "Honestly, in the beginning I was disappointed that I had only managed 2nd place, but on Sunday I realized that I ought to be happy… and proud," Page declared on his weblog.
Apparently his performance didn’t go unnoticed as it was announced today that the Morgan Blue – BSI team will be his team for the rest of the season. The Belgian team was searching for a new leader after their previous star, Belgian Klaas Vantornout, left the team for the more famous Fidea team where he’s taken another step up in cyclo-cross hierarchy.
For the American champion of 2002, 2003 and 2004 it’s a chance to take another step up himself. "I hope I will get back to the form I had in the first few races of the season," Page said to Cyclingnews. That form was impressive for a non-European rider - Page entered three races and finished seventh and fourth in them while competing the world’s best riders. On his weblog, Page is encouraging himself to hopefully great things at the World Championships. "And now, I have more than a month to get back into the swing of things before the World Championships, my real goal."
Kurt Tembuyser, manager of Morgan Blue, explained on cyclo-cross.info why he choose Jonathan Page. "It’s not obvious to get a foreign rider – and especially an American – in a Belgian team; expenses are very high. But with BSI and Page we found a solution, so until the end of February he can count on us. We’ll evaluate the co-operation at the end of the season to see if a extension of our commitment is appropriate," Tembuyser said. Page will race in his new jersey for the first time in Wachtebeke. Tembuyser said, "you’ll see Page in almost every race during the coming busy weeks."